Last night, Casey Affleck won his first Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Manchester by the Sea—and many were less than thrilled considering the sexual assault allegations brought against him in 2010 that resurfaced this awards season.
The sexual harassment suits (read more about them here and here) were filed separately by two women who worked on Affleck's film I'm Still Here in 2010. One of the women alleged that Affleck crawled into her bed without consent while she was asleep, and the other that she was "violently grabbed" by Affleck in an effort to pressure her into staying in his hotel room. They also said that Affleck referred to women as "cows" and instructed a camera operator to flash his genitals at the women, in addition to the "near daily barrage of sexual comments, innuendo and unwelcome advances" by crew members who were allegedly encouraged by Affleck. The women also said that Affleck and the film's star, Joaquin Phoenix, locked themselves in the women's shared hotel room with two other women, allegedly to have sex with them.
Affleck was never convicted of the files charged against him, and both cases were later settled out of court. At the time, Affleck's spokesperson said: "The disputes have been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and the lawsuits are being dismissed."
Many people were outraged that Affleck was awarded the Best Actor honor despite these allegations and took to Twitter to share their opinions.
Casey Affleck should not have won. People who commit sexual harassment should lose their jobs, not be celebrated with honor and prestige.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) February 27, 2017
Happy that "Moonlight" won.
— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) February 27, 2017
— Preston Bradsher (@prestonleighb) February 27, 2017
Brie Larson, who presented Affleck with his award, didn't seem pleased by the Academy's decision. The Oscar-winning actress didn't applaud the actor as he took to the stage and gave his speech. (She had a similar reaction when she presented him with a Golden Globe about a month ago.)
My aesthetic: Brie Larson not clapping for literal trash hole casey affleck pic.twitter.com/Ci5LWXLkCr
— Tyler Struble (@tyler_struble) February 27, 2017
Last year, Larson was one of many people moved to tears by Lady Gaga's performance of "Till it Happens to You." The powerful performance, aimed to raise awareness about sexual assault, brought several survivors to the stage who stood in unison to make a statement. Larson, who later won an Oscar for her performance in Room, for her portrayal of a rape survivor, showed her support by standing at the edge of the stage, hugging each survivor as they left the venue.
All award season Brie Larson, who starred in a movie about sexual assault, had to present Casey Affleck all his awards. pic.twitter.com/L2WbQvSJNv
— Marnie (@ChrnclsOfMarnia) February 27, 2017
Larson has been applauded for taking a powerful yet professional stance for an issue that's clearly close to her heart—and bringing awareness in the process.